Design Styles : : Cottage

What do you think of when someone mentions the term “cottage style”? Each one of us has a slightly different notion, probably because this quaint style takes in a variety of different design influences. In a nutshell, cottage style is a charming amalgam of color and texture, old and new, personal treasures, handcrafted items and flea market finds.

You won’t find a cozier or more welcoming design style. You have several options within the category depending on your personal preferences. Whether you want a little country hideaway, a cozy mountain cabin or a place on the beach, cottage style could work for you. Whichever version you choose, you’ll love the casual feel, fun accessories and a down-to-earth vibe that can be easily replicated in your own home.

Mind you, cottage style could take some getting used to, especially if you lean toward a modern aesthetic. It is a style that celebrates life’s imperfections and turns up its nose to high-end furnishings and the latest trends. That’s what makes this unpretentious style so popular and enduring.  (This post contains an affiliate link.)

Beach Retreat
Recreating the look of a beach cottage is a pretty easy job. Work with casual furniture and accessories and incorporate the color palette of the sand and sea. Look through photos and artwork or magazines like Coastal Living for more inspiration.

Start with a neutral backdrop. White, off-white, subtle gray or pastel blue wall colors will be the first step in your journey to beach cottage style. Select furniture pieces with simple lines like a grouping upholstered in durable natural cotton canvas. Picture this against sandy colored walls and bright white trim.

Layer on a jute area rug, weathered furniture pieces and breezy curtain panels.  Inject color through throw pillows and artwork. Sprinkle in woven baskets, shells, driftwood and coral specimens to bring home the beach cottage look.

Shabby Chic
The doyen of California casual, Rachel Ashwell opened her first Shabby Chic boutique in Santa Monica in 1989. While the business has evolved over the years, it remains true to the original concept of understated elegance. Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture features custom furniture, beautiful bedding and accessories, which have become the essence of cottage style.

Soft neutrals and muted florals blend with natural materials and textural fabrics give this distinctive style its laid back look and feel. A mix of slipcovered seating, vintage furnishings and slightly rumpled curtains create a look that not only fits perfectly with today's relaxed lifestyle, it will remain fresh and relevant for years to come.

Cabin Cozy
Whether it’s by the lake, in the mountains or tucked away in a forest glen, cabin cottage style introduces rustic ambience by way of natural elements. Even if you live in the city, you can add cabin cottage touches to virtually any space to give the sense of living in the great outdoors.

To keep this style true to form, a combination of organic surfaces and furnishings are a necessity. A natural stone fireplace, river rock accents and slate flooring will give your home the feel of a mountain getaway. Architectural features like wooden ceiling beams, columns and weathered wall panels give cabin cottage style depth of character.

Lodge style furniture, overstuffed upholstered pieces and earth tones lend authenticity to the space. Bring in tree stump side tables and faux wood wallpaper for a bit of whimsy. Round out the look with comfy down comforters, flannel sheets on a fluffy featherbed to while away long winter nights.

Retro Appeal
Vintage cottage is the one that's most closely associated with the term "cottage style". It is less restrained and features pops of color and a retro vibe. If you love to rummage through thrift stores, flea markets and yard sales, this cottage style is perfect for you.

Coordinate your wall colors with the fabrics in the room or install white shiplap for real vintage flavor. Don’t be afraid to use a mix of patterns like florals, plaids and stripes—that’s the true essence of this cheerful style. The great thing is you can still find actual vintage fabrics, pillows, curtains, dishtowels and funky tablecloths to pull your design together.

There’s nothing quite like retro appliances and light fixtures to round out a vintage kitchen. White cabinets paired with thrifted dinnerware and accessories serve as the perfect accent colors in the space. Painted furniture pieces mixed with natural wood flooring keeps the look from feeling too theme-y.

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